We awoke this morning to find that our trip had finally succumbed to that all too familiar British phenomenon of bringing our wet weather with us abroad. Spirits were hardly dampened, as many of the bandsmen enjoyed some early morning local sightseeing with their billets to Lighthouse Beach and the koala hospital near the corps. As we said our goodbyes and departed from many newly forged friendships, there was a real sense of Christian fellowship between us despite only having been acquainted for less than 24 hours. Such is the special family we all share through Christ.
Whilst the rain was a bit of a downer, real disaster struck as we had our first couple of tour injuries. Martin Tiplady suffered a nasty head wound whilst loading the coach which warranted three stitches and Steve Hanover required dental treatment after blowing a tooth loose during the previous night's concert! So much for touring being a walk in the park! Thankfully the guys received the attention they needed and are both okay.
Lunch was found en route as usual. This time we stopped at a popular place called Heatherbrae’s Pies, who did some fantastic (you guessed it) pies. Our coach journey continued with the usual standard of amusing conversation, this time discussing who a replacement band would comprise of should we never return from Australia…. Probably best not to dwell on that thought for too long.
We finally arrived at our hotel in the mid-afternoon. After checking in to our rooms we hopped back on the coach for a guided tour to see the tugs along Nobbys Beach and for a windy walk along the Anzac Bridge overlooking the sea. Newcastle was once a working port city but we could see lots of redevelopment happening now that ships are no longer being built there. After setting up at the concert venue we continued on to the local corps which hosted us for what was (as always) a lovely meal, before heading back to the venue for our concert.
The band was very excited to welcome Melbourne Staff Bandmaster Ken Waterworth, who has admirably flown out to join us on 2nd baritone for the remainder of the tour. The concert was very well received, especially Jonathan Evans' fantastic first solo of the tour; Stephen Bulla’s Air ‘N Variations.
The day was brought to a conclusion with a supper back at the local corps cafe, which trains up young people to give them essential employment experience whilst serving their community. The young baristas worked overtime to accommodate everyone's orders as the band shared conversation with other corps folk over cake, coffee and sandwiches. There was a real buzz in the air after having shared a great evening of music-making together, it was a lovely way to end another fab day.
Written by Staff Bandsman Stephen Williams